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Jonathan Tobin: Defending the Right to a Jewish State

Heather Hale: Compliment your kids without giving them big heads

Megan Shauri: 10 ways you are ruining your own happiness

Carolyn Bigda: 8 Best Dividend Stocks for 2015

Kiplinger's Personal Finance editors: 7 Things You Didn't Know About Paying Off Student Loans

Samantha Olson: The Crucial Mistake 55% Of Parents Are Making At Their Baby's Bedtime

Densie Well, Ph.D., R.D. Open your eyes to yellow vegetables

The Kosher Gourmet by Megan Gordon With its colorful cache of purples and oranges and reds, COLLARD GREEN SLAW is a marvelous mood booster --- not to mention just downright delish
April 18, 2014

Rabbi Yonason Goldson: Clarifying one of the greatest philosophical conundrums in theology

Caroline B. Glick: The disappearance of US will

Megan Wallgren: 10 things I've learned from my teenagers

Lizette Borreli: Green Tea Boosts Brain Power, May Help Treat Dementia

John Ericson: Trying hard to be 'positive' but never succeeding? Blame Your Brain

The Kosher Gourmet by Julie Rothman Almondy, flourless torta del re (Italian king's cake), has royal roots, is simple to make, . . . but devour it because it's simply delicious

April 14, 2014

Rabbi Dr Naftali Brawer: Passover frees us from the tyranny of time

Greg Crosby: Passing Over Religion

Eric Schulzke: First degree: How America really recovered from a murder epidemic

Georgia Lee: When love is not enough: Teaching your kids about the realities of adult relationships

Cameron Huddleston: Freebies for Your Lawn and Garden

Gordon Pape: How you can tell if your financial adviser is setting you up for potential ruin

Dana Dovey: Up to 500,000 people die each year from hepatitis C-related liver disease. New Treatment Has Over 90% Success Rate

Justin Caba: Eating Watermelon Can Help Control High Blood Pressure

The Kosher Gourmet by Joshua E. London and Lou Marmon Don't dare pass over these Pesach picks for Manischewitz!

April 11, 2014

Rabbi Hillel Goldberg: Silence is much more than golden

Caroline B. Glick: Forgetting freedom at Passover

Susan Swann: How to value a child for who he is, not just what he does

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Financial Tasks You Should Tackle Right Now

Sandra Block and Lisa Gerstner: How to Profit From Your Passion

Susan Scutti: A Simple Blood Test Might Soon Diagnose Cancer

Chris Weller: Have A Slow Metabolism? Let Science Speed It Up For You

The Kosher Gourmet by Diane Rossen Worthington Whitefish Terrine: A French take on gefilte fish

April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review

Time Is Life

By Rabbi Avraham Pam


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A reminder about our temporary mission — and Eternity


“This month shall be for you the beginning of the months.”

                        —   Exodus 12:2


http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | The mitzvah of the sanctification of the new moon, was the first commandment given to the Jewish people as they were about to become a nation.


There is a deep significance in the Divine's pick of this commandment for a nation of freed slaves. A slave has no time to call his own. His days and nights are controlled by his master. Freedom, among other things, enables one to use time as he so wishes and not be dependent on the needs or desires of another.


The sanctification of the new moon sets the cycle of the religious pilgrimages and festivals, as Judaism follows the lunar cycle. While it is the religious courts' task to sanctify the cycle of months, it is our task of to sanctify the gift of life one has been given by proper utilization of time.


When a person has a sizable amount of money to invest, he doesn't simply accept the first offer that comes his way. He will seek the advice of expert investment bankers to guide him in the direction which will lead to the greatest financial return on his money. Should he put the money in a C.D. or a money market fund? Should he invest in government bonds or in the stock market? What level of investment risk should he take in order to get a higher return on his money? All these questions must be dealt with in a serious manner because his financial future is at stake. Yet while most people understand that investing money requires careful forethought, very few people realize that even more forethought, advice and planning is required in investing time — a commodity infinitely more valuable than money.


Every human being is allotted a specific amount of time on this earth and a person's task is to make the optimum use of this priceless gift. In what should a person invest his time to yield the greatest ''returns'' in this world and the World to Come? Someday a careful reckoning of every moment of life will be made by the Heavenly Court to ascertain if this gift of time was used properly. There will be severe penalties for wasting or ''killing'' time.

SMART, NOT JUST RELIGIOUS
The Chofetz Chaim would often repeat the following aphorism to his disciples: "Do you think you have to be merely religious? You have to be smart!'' His intention in this remark can be explained with a statement from the Talmud (Chagigah 4a) which teaches that a deranged person is defined as someone who loses whatever is given to him. Thus, a person who is given the gift of time and life and thoughtlessly wastes it with foolishness is in the category of an insane person.


The Talmud (Gittin 65a) describes various levels of a child's intellectual development. The lowest level is a child who ''discards a stone but takes a nut.'' This means that when he is given two items that look similar to each other — for instance, a large pebble and a nut — he understands that he should throw away the worthless, inedible pebble and keep the nut which he can eat. This shows that the most basic level of intellect is when one can differentiate between things that have value and those that do not. If so, when a person has the time and ability to engage in spiritual pursuits and instead involves himself in small talk, he is at that moment like a tiny infant whose intellect is so undeveloped that he throws away the edible nut and puts the pebble in his mouth.


A higher level of intellectual development is when the child understands that when someone gives him something, it is not his to keep forever, but it must be returned upon demand at a later time (see Talmud, Gittin 64b). A very young child will cry bitterly when a toy given to him to play with ''for a few minutes'' by an older sibling is taken back. He has no concept of ''temporary ownership.'' What he gets is his forever — or so he thinks.


The gift of time is also something which can be classified as an item over which one has ''temporary ownership.'' Life is granted by the Divine for a predetermined amount of time. Some people have it for a longer period, others for a shorter period, but the day will come when it will be taken back from every human being. Yet many people, especially young ones, look ahead at the long road of life as if it were endless and do not feel the need to utilize this priceless opportunity to the fullest extent possible. By acting in such an irresponsible manner with this gift from G-d, they are like the little child who thinks that what he is given for a short time will never be taken away from him. In America there are multibillion- dollar industries devoted to helping people ''kill time.'' But killing time is first-degree murder.


A Jew knows that his life has a profound purpose and his soul has descended from beneath the Heavenly Throne to this earth to accomplish a mission only he can fulfill. For that mission he is allotted a certain amount of time to achieve his task. Whatever he accomplishes in his life on this earth will be what must sustain his soul for all eternity. Every day of one's life carries the potential to be filled with great accomplishments.


Rabbi Chaim Vital (1543- 1620), the disciple of the great Kabbalist, the Arizal, writes in Shaarei Kedushah that a person must constantly remind himself, never to let a day of life slip by without pursuing religious study and doing acts of kindness.


On the Sabbath that we recite the Blessing of the New Month, we pray, ''May You give us long life — a life of peace, a life of goodness, a life of blessing, a life of sufficient livlihood, a life of physical well-being — a life in which we will have love of Torah and fear of Heaven, a life in which our heartfelt requests will be fulfilled for the good.'' By utilizing the gift of time to its fullest, one will earn the full blessings of the Divine to live such a life.

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Previously:

Misplaced mercy and the stifling of blessings
The great aren't exempt from being grateful
Where and why Joseph went wrong

Comment by clicking here.

Rabbi Avraham Yaakov Pam (1913 - August 16, 2001) was the dean of Yeshiva Torah Vodaas in Brooklyn, New York and a member of the Council of Torah Sages of Agudath Israel. Recently, some of his public addresses have been rendered into English by a disciple, Rabbi Sholom Smith. One collection is "Rav Pam on Chumash (Bible)", from which this essay was excerpted.

© 2007, Mesorah Publications, Ltd.